Sunday, August 30, 2009

Our Nation's Capital

(gratuitous baby shot to start us off)
You know, it's a lot of fun to combine a sibling's wedding with a little bit of vacation. Rob did it right, marrying a girl from somewhere exotic like Maryland so we could all party hard in the "Land of the Monuments." Annie and Pete, I'd like my next two vacations to be in Hawaii and London. Make your dating choices appropriately.

I love me some Washington, D.C. I've loved it since 4th grade. I went there with my dad, since he was an attorney in a case that was going before the Supreme Court. (As a 10-year old, there is nothing more boring than sitting and listening to a Supreme Court case be tried. But I thought everything else in the city was awesome.) I went again my junior year with a school group (so much fun!), and then I taught in an inner-city school there for my student teaching (where we played Ultimate Frisbee at night around the Washington Monument and had firesides at the Lincoln Memorial--could anything be more amazing?). And I think I've been back three times since then. All that's just to say that I love that city. LOVE IT! But this trip was most amazing because of my family, and let me enumerate why.
1. Forty-eight Andersons, only 5 from the Greater D.C. area, made the trip to the wedding. And 38 of us stayed in one eight-bedroom home in Virginia. I thought that idea might be a fiasco, but it was awesome. I woke up every morning to Uncle Pete making breakfast and 17 cousins willing to take my baby. Delightful.2. We met Baby Quin, my brother Dave's best work ever, in collaboration with his lovely wife, Lauren. (Modeled here by my youngest brother, Dallin.)3. My family (immediate and extended) will hold and entertain and carry and feed and tease and care for my three kids. With smiles on their faces. (Most of the time.) I hardly had to remember I was a mom. It was wonderful. 4. They're game for anything. Even in million-degree weather, with 10,000% humidity, they were willing to indulge my passion for all things monument and traipse up and down the length of the mall, with four little children in tow. (By the way, I was pretty upset when I was living in D.C. and I heard about the plans for placing the WWII monument on my beloved mall--smack dab between the Lincoln and Washingon. I thought it might ruin everything. But. . . and it's hard to admit this. . . it just might be my new favorite. It's perfect.) I was not here when this picture was taken, or I would have insisted on it being in front of the Indiana column.5. I love that there are enough of us that wherever we go we make quite a stir. For example, when we sit down on the floor of the Senate Office Building, security guards tell us they have to consider our group as a demonstration (I wish I knew what we were protesting.)And more security guards come out to watch when we try to get a picture taken in front of the Capitol Building. And, this is not a joke, my mom got the busdriver's discount when she paid for all of us at the downtown McDonald's. Awesome, eh? I think it's a high point in her life.6. And they realize that the best bachelor's party is to take everyone--moms, sisters, aunts, and babies included--to an Orioles-Red Sox game. It was Andersons as far as the eye could see.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Highlights of Summer

I thought at the beginning of the summer that it was going to be so long, and my only goal was to relax and enjoy it. How did it slip past me so quickly in wave after wave of intense craziness? I think I need to start planning for next summer this very minute. But maybe that would only make it worse.
So, here it is. A recap of the Wells Family Summer. Awesome, it was.
1. We picked blueberries. (Twice, actually. And we picked cherries--sour cherries that we thought were going to be strawberries and raspberries and ended up being neither. But, you know what? I learned how to make freezer cherry pie filling, and I discovered that cherry jam is delicious!)
Somehow, when the blueberry helpers (several darling teenage girls) handed out the buckets, my big girl got a tiny bucket. . . . . . and my mini little Mimi got the HUGE bucket tied around her waist.2. Mimi signed up for ballet class and loved it. She dances her way though life anyway, and Miss Shakura is the loveliest teacher ever. (I've been teased that everything I say follows this format "Best ______ Ever". I accept the teasing--in fact, I embrace it. I think it's the best way to write ever.)Is there anything cuter than a row of happy, giggling little girls in pink tutus? I submit that there is not. (And as darling as the tiny little girls are, I thought the chubby ones were the cutest.)3. The girls took swimming lessons for 5 weeks with their good friends Ryan and Kacie.
It was more exciting than Mimi's face indicates.
4. We had visitors upon visitors upon visitors. (My basement is always available for friends. Come and visit me--I'm serious.) Unfortunately, I didn't take enough pictures of when John's family came. But this is my brother Mike, and his darling wife Kelly on one of our blueberry expeditions.
5. We took Mike, Kelly, and my other brother Rob, to the beach (These pictures are representative of so many beach trips we took this summer.). . .
. . . where they tossed my baby (and all the other kids in the group) through the air. And got in trouble with the lifeguard. (Which was nostalgic, rather than embarrassing for me.)

6. Bella ate bucketloads of sand, dirt, and grass everywhere we went.7. And my girls practically spent the summer in these dresses, made from a yard of Walmart $2.00 fabric and a 50-cent sheet I found at Goodwill. (They're easy to wear and cool on the skin, which makes me feel like a good mom. But then they are vaguely reminiscent of the curtain dresses from Sound of Music, which makes me feel a little like a cruel mom.)
Two more events that are really worth their own posts, so I'll elaborate later.
8. We went to Washington, D. C. because . . .
9. My brother Rob GOT MARRIED! To a darling, darling, Kasey.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Cookout at Loyd's Lake

Is this girl happy or what?My kind of camping:
1. Small fire, solely for the purpose of making s'mores.
2. Lots of family gathered around my dad as he demonstrates how to perfectly roast a marshmallow.
3. Happy little girls, resting after throwing rocks in the lake.
4. One little baby, perfectly content to eat rocks and dirt under the picnic table.

5. Come home, take a shower, and sleep in a comfortable bed.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

In Defense of My Mothering

Gentle Readers,
I have been contacted by several parties in objection to my refusal to let Mimi keep her ears pierced. I wish to say these things:
1. The piercing was wildly crooked and would never have actually been attractive as a hole in which earrings were placed.
2. Naomi had no desire to finish her piercings. She is tough, and determined as heck, but she didn't want to continue with the pin-pokings after her initial success.
3. She is four, and mercurial (my dad's word) even for the average four-year old. What she wants today is certainly not guaranteed to be what she wants tomorrow.
4. Our family rule sets the ear-piercing age at 12. I think girls at 12 are old enough to take care of their own ear holes, thus reducing the risk of infection. (Edited to add: This rule is based on my own red, swollen ear experience for several years. And I was 12. I am certainly not suggesting that this rule ought to be standard for all families.)
5. Since I am no longer teaching, I cannot aspire to "Meanest Teacher of the Year" award. This leaves me with "Meanest Mom in the World" as my only option.